HONG KONG - TRAVEL TIPS

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Hello Hong Kong! We are back! :)

I have been travelling to Hong Kong pretty much every 2 years since being with hubby as this is where he is from. Yet, for some reasons I have not really blogged about it! Maybe it's because our Hong Kong trips are usually jam-packed with family gatherings and too much eating, and when we come back, it is basically a struggle to get back to our normal routine! 

This time though, I got organised and decided that Hong Kong is such a fantastic destination for a holiday that I had to share my experience! If you know me by now, you will know that what I mean is  I will share with you all of my favourite places to eat and the new restaurants we have tried during our trip and then of course, some other fun stuff to visit and do! 

Hong Kong is a vibrant city and constantly changing with new restaurants and shops popping up everywhere and all the time! This has made no two trips to Hong Kong the same, and we are always so excited to be back. 

On this blog post, let's start with some travel tips for the newbies. If you have never travelled to Hong Kong before, these are some basics I think would be helpful to know before getting there. 

Map of Hong Kong
In my opinion, in order to understand where you are going and how to get to places, you need to understand where you are. Ok, so this is not really a HK map, but this is a map of Hong Kong MTR (the metro), and it is just perfect to explain how Hong Kong is set. 

You will see that Hong Kong really consists of 3 main parts:
1. New Territories and Kowloon, attached to the mainland of China (North part)
2. Lantau Island (to the Left, where the airport is located)
3. Hong Kong Island (the Lower part)

Once you have understood the map, it will be easier for you to locate different stops and know how far or near they are from where you are. Don't worry, getting around in Hong Kong is easy and you will quickly find your way around town for sure! Just find out which MTR station is closest to you and make your way from there. :)

Hong Kong Island - View from the Star Ferry

Arriving in Hong Kong
This is pretty easy. Hong Kong is one of the most efficient countries in the world and once you have landed, if you do not have a limousine and chauffeur waiting for you, there is no need to panic. 
Oh, and NO! Do not take a taxi into town because that will cost you a lot!

All you need to do is to buy your ticket to the Airport Express MTR train, which will take you straight to Kowloon or to Hong Kong Station and from there, you can make your journey to where you need to go. You can now get that cab if you want to! :)

To note: When you travel by Airport Express, there is a complimentary shuttle bus which takes you straight to some hotels. You can find the list by clicking on this link. 
If, like me, you enjoy making the most of complimentary services, try booking a hotel on the list or one that is located near the hotels on the list, and that will be your transportation sorted! This is what we do on every trip and we love how convenient it is.

Single Ticket from Kowloon: HK$90 
Return Ticket from Kowloon: HK$160 (valid for 30 days)

How to get around?
The simplest way to get around is by MTR. Get yourself an Octopus card from any MTR station, which is the equivalent of the Oyster Card in London and you can get on any MTR and buses in town. If you are not sure how much traveling you will be doing, best to keep it as a 'Pay as you go' option and at the end of your trip, if you still have money on it, you can return your card to any Customer Service Centre and you will have your remaining balance and deposit refunded to you. 

Otherwise, taxis are generally cheap (compared to London) so if you're just going a few blocks down the road and can't find any MTR stations nearby, pop into a taxi with your address ready and you will be surprised at how cheap it is. Just be aware though that taxi drivers usually don't like having to cross over between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Some do, but the fares then get a bit more expensive. Just be informed. :)

Where to stay in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong offers lots of options in terms of accommodation and all really depends on your budget. Most people who visit Hong Kong will usually stay around Kowloon or Hong Kong Island, simply because this is where everything happens. Separated by the beautiful Victoria Harbour, it doesn't matter on which side you are looking at, the view is just amazing.  
I find that hotels are usually cheaper on the Kowloon side, although, that doesn't mean that they are less luxurious! Kowloon is considered to be the more traditional and the older side of Hong Kong, while Hong Kong Island is the more westernised and modern side. I personally prefer to stay on the Kowloon side, more specifically in Tsim Sha Tsui, because it has lots of character and feels very authentic. I do admit however that Hong Kong Island also has lots to offer in terms of shopping and restaurants, so I end up travelling a lot across Victoria Harbour by MTR or by the Star Ferry to cover both areas!

Conclusion: Stay in Tsim Sha Tsui area for the more authentic experience, or pick Hong Kong Island for a more trendy and sophisticated one. You will end up having to travel in between these 2 areas anyway! Best to pick one which is near to an MTR for easy travelling and of course, one found on the complimentary shuttle bus service from Airport Express to top it off! :) 

View of Hong Kong Island from Tsim Sha Tsui
Now that we are all settled, it is time for the adventure to begin. Check out my next post to find out more about Hong Kong and what we have been up to!

Thanks for reading!

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